Top 5 Welding Tips for The Beginner and Novice
Learning to weld can be a fun and adventurous experience that can help you put some more skills under your belt. Whether you want to learn it as a hobby where it may come in handy from time to time or whether you want to make a go at a fully-fledged career in the welding industry our aim is to help you with some tips.
Now the chances are that you have read all about welders and have made a purchase already, sitting in front of you as we speak is your nice new MIG welder and you are eagerly waiting to fuse together you first two pieces of metal. We have all been there, and it’s a great feeling to accomplish your first weld.
Below we have listed our top five tips for welding beginners, so take a look and make notes.
Tip 1: Attend a Welding Class
The first port of call is simple, and that’s to attend a community college where you can learn to weld in a safe and professional environment. The great thing about this tip is that the classes are usually very cheap so you won’t have to pay out hundreds of dollars to learn this skilled profession, and best of all it doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 70 you can attend a welding class.
The best place to start is to look around the local area for courses, check on the internet or ask around locally to see if there is anything going down and then enrol yourself.
Tip 2: Teach Yourself
They say there is no greater learning curve than teaching yourself a skill or trade, but to be honest if your mix tips 1 with tip 2 you are going to learn quite a lot. However, if you don’t have the budget or time to attend a welding class then you could start by learning from the comfort of your own home.
The first thing is to remember health and safety, so you are going to need protective headwear in the form of a welding helmet, fire-resistant gloves and clothing and a safe place to weld. Make sure there are no flammable substances nearby and clear your work area before you begin practicing.
Now, you have the welder in hand so the next thing you need to do is source some scrap metal which is easy enough to do, learn the first steps by welding two simple pieces together and then take it from there.
This step is all about learning techniques and gaining knowledge of metals and alloys.
Tip 3: Get Yourself Some Welding Rods
These are a key part of the welding process and shouldn’t be forgotten about, welding rods which are also known as electrodes are designed to use alternating current or direct current electrode positive, and are ideal for practicing your welding.
Tip 4: Practice Striking
Another great tip for beginners is to practice striking and you can never spend lost time doing this, during this you want to strike the electrode (rod) against the welding piece (the metal you are going to be practicing on). Get the electrode to hit the metal and then retract the electrode back about 0.3cm so the arc will commence. Do this several times with the welder turned off so you become accustomed to the feel and sounds of the metal and electrodes until you know the length to pull back the electrode.
Once you are ready you can then try it for real and begin to sustain that arc flame by keeping the electrode close to the metal (any further away will cause the temperature to increase and you could end up melting right through the metal).
Tip 5: Experiment with Amperage and Bead Laying
The final point we want to touch on for beginners is to try laying beads on scrap metal and playing with the amperage until you get the desired effect. What you are looking for is a good, consistent bead so in order to do this you want to lay out some scrap pieces of metal to work on.
Use the same rods and amperage settings and keep practicing with your welder until you are happy with the bead. Once you are you can try and join two pieces of metal together by welding them. Hold the pieces together with a clamp and make sure that each surface has been prepped and cleaned.
If the metal is quite thick then this is where you will get to play with the amperage setting until you get the best result, and you will also need a larger diameter rod. The thinner the metal the less amperage you will need and smaller diameter rods you will need.
Above all, have fun and enjoy the learning process.